Talya Ponchek “The Emergence of the Innovative Entity: Is the Patent System Left Behind?”

Research Seminar

Wednesday 27 April, 10.00-11.00, Room S 217 (Studland House)

The paper is concerned with the question whether the patent system achieves its goal, set by policymakers, to promote innovation. The focus of the paper is the United States patent system.

The paper provides a systematic review of two bodies of literature and how each of them perceives the process of innovation and the identity of the innovator. First, the development of U.S. patent system, from pre-legislation England to the U.S. federal system, alongside the developments of the classical reasoning for property rights allocation. Second, the “evolution” of  innovation production theories, and how their focus has shifted from the individual innovator at the center of the innovation process, to the sole firm, focusing these days on cross-organizational collaborations as an innovation generator. The review reveals a gap between how innovation is actually produced and the law.

The paper asserts policymaker should be thinking on innovation as the result of an intellectual effort by an ‘inventive entity,’ as oppose by an inventor. The paper seeks to shed light on where the law falls short, discussing its libertarian property regime and the terminology used.

Though cross-organizational research and development (R&D) collaborations are established despite the law not providing the appropriate infrastructure for that, one must not disregard the importance of the law. Its ill-fitting terminology may result in partners finding themselves in situations they had no intention to be in, as scientists do not always protect every aspect of their work with a contract, and contract cannot foresee each and every scenario. More importantly, the patent law is a tool through which policymakers signal actors operating in the innovation eco-system how the view innovation. Currently, the patent law does not convey the message that cross-organizational R&D collaboration and the establishment of an inventive entity is essential to the advancement of innovation.

Dr Talya Ponchek (PhD University of Haifa) is currently visiting research fellow at CIPPM